Life isn't always fair. Just as you think you have got it all right, it shoves you down yet another chasm and you thrash about in mid-air as you drop down as if there were no tomorrow. M Renjith's directorial debut 'Black Butterfly' talks of a few such lives that remain horridly entwined with each other in more ways than one.
Benny (Mithun Murali) is yet to know joy in life, and having grown out of a miserable childhood, spends his adolescence as a help at a local petrol pump. Love strikes, when he meets Reena (Malavika Nair), a young housemaid who works at a plush apartment nearby. Benny never gets to confess his love to her, and is hauled by the cops for interrogation with regard to a crime that has shaken up the city.
Arathy (Samskruthy Shenoy) is a plus two student, who has newly moved into the city with her parents. Deepak (Niranj Sudheer Kumar) who stays in the same apartment, has his eyes roving all over her, and impresses her in no time. Arathy falls for his gentlemanly ways, and for the first time in her life, realizes that she is in love.
'Black Butterfly' deals with a theme that is relatable, and which has been much debated already. If the film still manages to strike you as fascinating, its courtesy the taut script, that delivers its goods imposingly well. The result is an arresting film that has something very much worthy to tell, and yet never appearing to be pedantic or vehemently instructive.
The word of warning is there; the counsel too. It leaves behind several unanswered questions as well. What is indeed noteworthy is the fact that Arathy isn't a girl who comes from a dysfunctional family. Yet, she gets into trouble like so many young girls of her age do, but unlike some less fortunate ones doesn't end up as a sleaze video on thousands of mobile phones.
What makes 'Black Butterfly' stand out from the routine thrillers in the genre is the unexpected turn that it takes just before it winds to a close. I would be doing gross injustice to the film, if I were to reveal any further, and hence I guess it would suffice to say that the film plays almost all its cards right.
It certainly doesn't mean that this is a film without its share of flaws. At times, it does seem that the flashbacks get stretched out beyond their limits, especially when it comes to Benny's tale. There is too much dwelling on his childhood, and the buildup seems a bit too extravagant. But it gains pace eventually, moving towards a stunning climax that leaves you taken aback.
I have had the opportunity to watch 'Vazhakku Enn 18/9', Balaji Sakthivel's much acclaimed Tamil film that was a revelation of sorts when it came to the ever rising instances of teen crime in the country. I would say 'Black Butterfly' is a faithful adaptation of the film, and nothing much has changed, as Pallassery's script painstakingly sticks to the original version.
The performances of the lead cast bowl you over with their maturity. It's almost impossible to pick out a favorite from among the four actors, and while Mithun moves you with his vulnerability and defenselessness, Niranj astonishes you with his smooth criminal act. Malavika appears refreshingly beautiful and remarkably innocent while Samskruthy is every bit the city-bred daring girl that she plays.
'Black Butterfly' tries to reach out to a young generation for whom the word 'scandal' equals 'sex'. It has a very significant statement to make in a world that has literally been turned topsy-turvy by a tremendously destructive technological deluge.